Watch Movies & TV Series

Watch Baroque Goes Pop in Offbeat Italian Convent Drama

“Watch Online Baroque Goes Pop in Offbeat Italian Convent Drama”

“Baroque Goes Pop in Offbeat Italian Convent Drama”

With the possible exception of “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” any film with an exclamation point in the title should by rights be a spangly, full-scale musical. A frothy tale of warring classical music sensibilities in a Venetian girls’ refuge, “Gloria!” stops short of complete commitment to that rule — but it’s when it fully suspends reality for all-singing, all-stamping choral ecstasy that Margherita Vicario‘s uneven debut is most exciting. Elsewhere, this mixture of starchy costume drama and contemporary, youth-oriented feminist uplift is hampered by hoarily formulaic scripting, with stock characters and plot points that don’t match up with Vicario’s more elevated artistic ambitions. Still, it’s hard to take against the film’s eager energy, which is sure to win over festival audiences — beginning at Berlin, where it nabbed a somewhat generous Competition berth — and home crowds in Italy.

Galatea Bellugi — whom arthouse audiences will recognize as the mousy kitchen assistant in “The Taste of Things” — gets a more expressive breakout role here as Teresa, a prodigiously gifted young composer who endures a Cinderella-level social status at the Sant’Ignazio Institute, a convent-like Catholic shelter for orphaned or outcast young women. There, residents are musically trained by dour chapel master Perlina (Paolo Rossi), a Salieri-type figure whose unforgiving authority rather exceeds his modest talent as a composer and conductor. Any “Amadeus” allusions hardly feel accidental: Vicario fashions her story as a clash of old and new guards in 18th-century baroque music, with the new guard not a brash young buck but a sweetly rebellious female collective.

Admitted to the Institute after giving birth to an illegitimate son — in covert, darkly abusive circumstances that the film treats a bit coyly — Teresa is treated by both the masters and the other girls as an unworthy servant, excluded from all music lessons as she spends her days cleaning up after her supposed superiors. Little do they know she has original symphonies in her fingertips, and she does little to tell them: “The Mute” is her nickname at the Institute, said by all with a sneer. Of the more fortunate girls, the queen bee is Lucia (Carlotta Gamba), the Institute’s first violin, who is skilled if not especially inspired in her playing, and has an eye on escape via her courtship with wealthy dreamboat Cristiano (Vincenzo Crea).

Teresa’s abilities are unlocked, however, when a local craftsman gifts the Institute with a modern and immediately distrusted instrument: a piano. Perlina, deeming it an unholy alternative to the trusty organ, consigns it to the basement, where the lowly maid happens upon it, and immediately gets the hang of its keys. Teresa’s playing is deliberately and pointedly anachronistic, influenced more by the pop and jazz of centuries to come than by anything heard in the Institute. When the other girls, hearing traces of her melodies from upstairs, discover The Mute’s full capacity for joyful noise, they immediately welcome her into the fold, though Lucia, bound to Perlina’s austere traditionalism, is wary. And with Pope Pius VII due to visit the Institute for a performance — just as Perlina is hit with a severe case of composer’s block — the stage is set for a musical uprising.

“Gloria!” is thus nominally anchored in history, an impression enhanced by elegantly moldering production design by Luca Servino and Susanna Abenavoli, and costume designer Mary Montalto’s ruffled, time-stained, pastel-faded gowns. But it’s modelled as much as anything on countless let’s-put-on-show entertainments through Hollywood history, a kind of distant Italian descendant of “Sister Act.”

Given Vicario’s own background as a popular singer-songwriter, this fast-and-loose approach to authenticity makes sense. The film uses modernized compositions, in particular, to bind its young female characters to a feminist movement still many generations ahead of them: By the time a climactic rearrangement of Vivaldi’s eponymous hymn throws in a bass drop or two, the point is perhaps a bit heavily made, but it’s mischievous enough to forgive. The music that Teresa hears in her head is intended to gesture at another, brighter world — as it does early on, when a scene of her daily domestic routine briefly quickens into a fully choreographed music daydream sequence, before snapping back into place.

“Gloria!” could use more of these lilting, heightened flourishes: When it plays things straight as drama, things get a little fusty, and Vicario’s inexperience as a storyteller is emphasized. Bellugi gives a sufficiently winsome performance to paper over the essential dullness of her character, as Teresa pivots from noble martyr to inspiring leader, while her female peers are largely conceived in cheery girlboss shorthand. Perlina is an accordingly one-note antagonist, sufficiently generic in his villainy to stand in for the patriarchy as a whole. The soaring motivational message here wouldn’t be clipped by a little interior conflict on either side, but “Gloria!” is all about chasing the highest of high notes.

If you liked the article, do not forget to share it with your friends. Follow us on Google News too, click on the star and choose us from your favorites.

If you want to read more Like this articles, you can visit our Watch Movies & TV Series category


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Please allow ads on our site

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker!